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April 1, 2014

VaPreps 3A All-State Hoops Teams

VirginiaPreps.com is proud to release our sixth annual All-State Basketball Teams. Unlike the past years when we chose four teams of First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention Team in Group AAA, we are now choosing a First Team and Second Team for all six of the classification in the first year of the new VHSL realignment.

A total of five players are picked on First Team with a Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. After all, a regular basketball starts five, and so does ours. And just like most teams, we go with seven guys on the bench to make up the Second Team, although not one member on any of the six squads was a reserve.

So what are the factors that go into the choices that are made? All are made by me with no consultation of the coaches simply because that's what the VHSCA Teams are designed for in my opinion. However, we try to study individual statistics (some supplied by coaches upon request) as well as factor into the equation team success and overall impact. Once everything is weighed, we try to blend it all together and make the best choices possible, even though there's no perfect team or right and wrong picks.

It's never an easy process because there are always many deserving players who don't get recognized on First or Second Team. A lot of difficult picks had to be made yet again with some back-and-forth on a few of the final spots as usual.

Without further ado, here's the VirginiaPreps.com 3A All-State Basketball Teams for the 2013-14 campaign with bios on each player. . .

3A First Team:
Jeremy Sheppard - John Marshall - Soph.
Justin Goode - Lord Botetourt - Sr.
Henry Butler - Culpeper - Sr.
Paul Rowley - Loudoun Valley - Sr.
Tucker McCoy - Spotswood - Sr.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Jeremy Sheppard (John Marshall)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Tytrail White (John Marshall)

3A Second Team:
Kadeem Wright - Thomas Jefferson-Richmond - Sr.
Josh Hess - Abingdon - Sr.
Robert Valentine - Armstrong - Sr.
Maliek White - George Wythe - Soph.
Quaman Burton - John Marshall - Sr.
Kevon Cooley - Armstrong - Sr.
DeVonte Dedmon - Warhill - Sr.

VirginiaPreps.com 3A First Team All-State:

Jeremy Sheppard, John Marshall, Soph. (Player of the Year)

In John Marshall's 74-56 win over George Wythe that brought the school its first state title in basketball in 60 years, a sophomore stole the show with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field, 5-for-8 from long distance, four assists and four steals in 31 minutes of action. However, that type of production was nothing new for Sheppard, selected as the 3A-East Region Player of the Year to go with First Team All-State honors by the VHSCA and VHSL during his first season as a varsity starter.

For the season, Sheppard averaged 19.6 points, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per contest. His outside shooting is one of the premier factors in his game and why he's a coveted recruit already from the Class of 2016. Sheppard made 103 three-pointers, more than anyone else in the state this year (public or private school), making 45% from long distance. From the field, he shot 53% and he converted 81% of his free-throw attempts.

Justin Goode, Lord Botetourt, Sr.

The 6-foot-2 senior guard was the catalyst all season long for the Cavaliers as they went 24-3 overall and earned their first ever State Final Four berth. In their win over Spotswood in the 3A-West Region Championship, Goode scored a game-high 36 points in handing the Blazers their first loss of the season. His tremendous play was recognized with him receiving both VHSCA State Player of the Year and 3A-West Region Player of the Year.

Goode's numbers were better than good; they were simply great. He averaged 19.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 46.3% from the field (168-of-363), 61-of-164 from three-point distance (37.2%) and his 141-of-154 shooting at the free-throw line (91.5%) stacks up with anybody in the country these days.

Henry Butler, Culpeper, Sr.

Chosen Player of the Year in Conference 27 and the Evergreen District, Butler put together quite a career with the Blue Devils, who won consecutive/district regular season and tournament titles. With him igniting Culpeper's high-powered offense, the team earned its spot in the 3A Top Ten and made it to the regional semifinals, finishing with a record of 20-4 overall.

A two time-up runner-up for Battlefield District Player of the Year, Butler scored 1332 career points and was apart of 62 victories. This past season unquestionably proved to be his finest with averages of 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and four steals per game while splashing in 42 three-pointers and shooting 75% at the foul line.

Paul Rowley, Loudoun Valley, Sr.

The 6-foot-8 small forward signed to play his College Basketball in the CAA at William & Mary not only is a brain on and off the court, but a gifted basketball player who goes down as one of the best to ever come out of Loudoun Valley, which made the State Tournament twice during his career and went 20-5 overall this past season. Rowley leaves with records in three-pointers made for a career (148) and game (9) as well as school records in blocks for a career (220), season (108) and game (10).

Known as a tall and rangy shooter who can heat up in a hurry, Rowley was chosen Conference 28 Player of the Year to go with All-State First Team honors for the VHSCA and VHSL, plus First Team All-Region in 3A-East. He averaged 21 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while making 80% of his free-throws (117-of-146), 52% of his field goals (101-of-194) and draining 68 three-pointers. Oh by the way, his 4.51 GPA and ranking third in a graduation class of 272 is nothing to sneeze at either.

Tucker McCoy, Spotswood, Sr.

Unfortunately tearing his ACL in the team's 84-80 State Semis loss to George Wythe, McCoy was the heart and soul for a Blazers team that simply blazed through the competition during a 28-0 start as they finished the season as the second highest scoring public school team in all of Virginia at 84.2 points per game. Putting up 22.8 points per game alone was McCoy, the school's all-time leading scorer who had no trouble eclipsing 1000 points for his career.

In fact, McCoy went on to finish up with 2032 career points as he was a no-brainer pick for Conference 29 Player of the Year and First Team All-Region in 3A-West. The JMU baseball signee got it done time and time again on the hardwood, losing only four times over the last two seasons in guiding Spotswood to consecutive State Final Four appearances. He averaged 4.5 assists per game this past season to go with 52% shooting from the field and 40% from three-point territory.

Coach of the Year: Tytrail White, John Marshall

Justice was served in 2014 by White's John Marshall Justices. One year after losing to Henrico in the AAA State Championship, the Justices got back to that same game and won their first State Championship since 1954 with a convincing 74-56 win over a George Wythe team that beat them in the 3A-East Region Championship. It was the third meeting between the two schools as John Marshall also beat them to win the rugged Conference 26 Tournament.

White's team finished 22-5 overall, which might not seem like an incredible record, but considering some of the competition that they played with games against the likes of Cape Henry, Christchurch, Benedictine and Trinity Episcopal among others, that's might strong. Furthermore, the former Petersburg assistant got the job done this season with a group consisting mostly of underclassmen, so expect Jayem to be in the hunt for future Championships at the 3A level.

VirginiaPreps.com 3A Second Team All-State:

Kadeem Wright, Thomas Jefferson-Richmond, Sr.

The Conference 26 Player of the Year and a First Team All-State selection by the VHSCA, Wright was undoubtedly one of the most prolific scorers in the entire state. In fact, among all six classifications of VHSL Basketball, only Floyd County's Caleb Tanner in 2A averaged more per game than Wright's 30PPG. More times than not, he single handily carried the Vikings on offense while hovering around 60% shooting from the floor, plus averaged 3.4 steals per game this past season. Wright scored over 1000 points in a sensational career.

Josh Hess, Abingdon, Sr.

Selected First Team All-State by the VHSCA, Hess was a vital ingredient for Abingdon posting a 14-10 overall record and reaching the 3A-West Region Tournament. Two years ago as a sophomore, he averaged 19.7 points per game and his game only continued to evolve for them, closing out his career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1812 points to break the previous mark of 1309 held by Lindsay Alderman from 2002-05. To no surprise, Hess was picked as Player of the Year in Conference 32, averaging 22 points and 4.6 assists per game.

Robert Valentine, Armstrong, Sr.

Perhaps nobody gave eventual 3A State Champion John Marshall a tougher game than Armstrong did in the 3A-East Conference 26 Tournament semifinals, where the Wildcats came up just short 67-66, despite a tremendous outing from Valentine. The 6-foot-1 guard who has gone from strictly a jump shooter to someone that can create his shot better off the dribble finished with 33 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field and 11-for-12 at the foul line in that game. A First Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Region performer, Valentine played a huge part in Armstrong grabbing 16 wins.

Maliek White, George Wythe, Soph.

The 6-foot-tall sophomore guard was extremely instrumental in the Bulldogs winning more games this season, 23, than they had in the previous six years combined. With White at the controls of the offense, Wythe won its first regional title since 2004 and made its first trip to the State Championship game since 2002. In that title game that they lost to John Marshall he was one of the best players on the floor with 19 points and three treys. Selected First Team All-State by the VHSL and VHSCA as well as First Team All-Region in 3A-East, White played maybe his best game in a 101-80 shoot-out win over Culpeper in the regional semifinals when he scored 23 points.

Quaman Burton, John Marshall, Sr.

Seldom does a player get to a State Championship as a junior, fall short and redeem himself his senior year with the title, but that's what Burton did. He averaged 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game with an outstanding showing in the State Championship win over George Wythe of 14 points and 14 assists, not turning it over once in the first half of play. From the field, Burton made 50% of his shots and hit a team-high 87 free-throws, shooting 67% at the charity stripe, and was chosen Second Team All-Region in 3A-East.

Kevon Cooley, Armstrong, Sr.

An athletic wonder that seemingly played with limitless energy, Cooley might've very well been the best rebounding guard at any level in the state. Measuring in at 5-foot-11, he averaged 16.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game, impressing us most when he grabbed 11 boards in a single quarter against Highland Springs at the Times-Dispatch Invitational Tournament. His athleticism was noticeable and impact significant, earning him Second Team All-Region and First Team All-Conference recognition as the Wildcats followed up a regional semifinal trip in 2013 with 16 wins this season.

DeVonte Dedmon, Warhill, Sr.

Headed to William & Mary to play his College Football, Dedmon had no problem transitioning those skills onto the basketball court. Without a whole lot of experience around him, he still managed to be a dominating presence with averages of 28.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 2.4 steals per game to grab Colonial Rivers Conference 25 Player of the Year honors. A First Team All-Region selection in 3A-East, Dedmon scored a career-high 48 points against Tabb, one of nine games where he hit for 30 or more points on the campaign.

Matthew Hatfield serves as State Basketball Analyst for VirginiaPreps.com, part of the Rivals.com Network. Check out Hatfield's Twitter page for more sports related updates, and you can also read his work in the Suffolk News Herald. To contact Matthew, please e-mail [email protected], and don't forget to listen to him every Saturday at 10AM on ESPN Radio 94.1, plus watch him on the Cox 11 Sports Report.

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